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Bulbs and dionysias - Iran in April (3)


By AndrewR


After three nights at Semirom, we checked out of our hotel, hoping the next one would be a little more comfortable. Our destination was Chelgerd with a few plant stops on the way.

First another dionysia, D. bolivari, showing how they grow on rocks to avoid excessive heat and rain

Later we found my ‘star’ plant of the trip, gladiolus atroviolaceus

The prize for the flower with the worst scent went to eminium lehmannii

Another fritillary, F. persica, with our route through the Karaba Pass in the background

Tulipa polychroma is similar to T. biflora, but only has one flower head per stem

We arrived in Chelgerd to a red carpet welcome and three nights of luxury

Next morning, we started with dionysia archibaldii. Ironically, many dionysias grow in inaccessible places high on rockfaces, but this one grew at eye level yet had only been discovered and named in the last few years

Corydalis verticillaris is variable in colour, but this was a good form

Next we visited a small canyon, totally invisible from the road. Here was growing another dionysia, probably D. lamingtonii

And under it puschkinia scilloides which grows happily in my own garden. How can such a prima donna and an easy-going plant share the same home?

Two colour forms of merendera wendelboi (closely related to colchicums)

We continued through the Kuhrang valley, dotted with a few small villages and farmsteads

Here grew scilla persica

Fritillaria persica comes in two colour forms, and now we saw the second, paler, form

There are several orthithogalums that grow in Iran, but we only saw one in flower, O. sigmoidium

Finally in this section, fritillaria reuteri. This breaks all the rules by growing in sopping wet soil all year round

To be continued ….

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Such beautuful plants they have in rocky places the gladiolus would be my favourite to such a beautiful deep colour.

23 Apr, 2017


Lovely pictures - nothing more worthwhile than seeing a plant flowering in its own habitat - thank you for sharing - Jane

24 Apr, 2017


Thankyou for sharing your wonderful trip Andrew,nature is amazing, to see such beautiful flowers growing in what to me look like very desolate places, something I would never see without such people as yourself...

24 Apr, 2017


These are really wonderful photos Andrew. What a trip!

24 Apr, 2017


Thank you for sharing your adventure with us all Andrew.

25 Apr, 2017


another lovely blog. the frits are so spectacular and really help us understand what it needs here. I always lose my F persica and I know why now. they are too wet where I plant them in the garden.

love the relative of the colchicums.

3 May, 2017


It fascinates me, how those beautiful plants grow unaided
in that awful stony ground. How do they do it ?

3 May, 2017


thousands of years of evolution Diane.

3 May, 2017


Which seems to mean survival without nutrients or water.
I have to get more Alpines for my Crevice Garden, half
of them have died, yet it was a wet winter.
Fascinating !

6 May, 2017


Diane - while there is not much rain in these areas, there is water in the spring from melting snow, and this is what triggers many bulbs into growth and flower.

Many alpines come from areas with dry winters or where they are covered in snow during the colder months. This means they have problems coping with our wet winters, especially if we have milder spells so there is alternative freezing and thawing. The 'trick' is to provide a cover to alpine beds so that air can still circulate, but that rain is kept off the plants. There is a picture of my alpine bed at

6 May, 2017

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